EP.1–Introduction

August 23rd, 2011

This is my introduction to the World of Islam: Culture, Religion, and Politics podcast. Why a podcast on this subject? Why now?

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EP.2–Religion: The Pre-Islamic Environment I (Late Antique Near East, Empires, Judaism)

September 1st, 2011

This episode of the World of Islam starts a historical survey of Islamic thought by looking into the world in which the religion of Islam would eventually develop. We will briefly discuss the Near East in late antiquity in general as well as introduce Judaism and some of the Jewish communities of the time.

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EP.3–Religion: The Pre-Islamic Environment II (Christianity, Zoroastrianism)

September 10th, 2011

This episode of the World of Islam continues looking into the world in which the religion of Islam would eventually develop. We will take a brief look at Christianity and Zoroastrianism in the Near East of late antiquity.

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EP.4–Religion: The Pre-Islamic Environment III (Arabia)

September 19th, 2011

This episode of the World of Islam provides a short introduction to Arabia on the eve of the movement of Muhammad. Among other things, we discuss the problem of sources for the modern historian, the characteristics of Arab life, the religious perspectives of the Arabs, and the relation of Arabia to the two major empires of the time.

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EP.5–Religion: Approaching Muhammad (Challenges; Sources: Qur’an, Hadith, Sira)

September 27th, 2011

In this episode of the World of Islam, we continue our survey of the history of Islamic thought, by looking at some of the difficulties inherent in approaching the life and career of Muhammad. We consider what Muslim sources tell a modern historian about the Prophet of Islam.

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Sources and Recommended Readings:

Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Jonathan A.C. Brown

Muhammad (Past Masters) by Michael Cook

Images of Muhammad: Narratives of the Prophet in Islam Across the Centuries by Tarif Khalidi

The Life of Muhammad by I. Ishaq

Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi

The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad (Cambridge Companions to Religion) by Jonathan E. Brockopp

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred M. Donner

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EP.6–Religion: Sira I “Muhammad in Mecca”

October 11th, 2011

This episode of the podcast presents a summary of what the traditional sira tells us about Muhammad's life in Mecca, including his early life, the start of his mission as a prophet, and the difficulties he encounters in this environment.

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Sources and Recommended Readings:

Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Jonathan A.C. Brown

Muhammad (Past Masters) by Michael Cook

Images of Muhammad: Narratives of the Prophet in Islam Across the Centuries by Tarif Khalidi

The Life of Muhammad by I. Ishaq

Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi

The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad (Cambridge Companions to Religion) by Jonathan E. Brockopp

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred M. Donner

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EP.7–Religion: Sira II “Muhammad in Medina”

November 6th, 2011

Episode 7 of the podcast considers what the traditional sira literature says about Muhammad's life and career after the hijra from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Among the topics discussed are the military conflicts between Muhammad's followers and their Meccan enemies, the clashes with the Jewish tribes of Medina, the conquest of Mecca, and the unification of Arabia under Muhammad's leadership right before his death in 632 CE.

Twitter:

Follow The World of Islam Podcast on Twitter

Facebook:

Like The World of Islam Podcast Facebook page

Sources and Recommended Readings:

Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Jonathan A.C. Brown

Muhammad (Past Masters) by Michael Cook

Images of Muhammad: Narratives of the Prophet in Islam Across the Centuries by Tarif Khalidi

The Life of Muhammad by I. Ishaq

Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters by Omid Safi

The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad (Cambridge Companions to Religion) by Jonathan E. Brockopp

Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred M. Donner

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EP.8–Religion: Controversial Elements in the Sira of Muhammad

December 26th, 2011

Episode 8 of the World of Islam Podcast takes a look at some seemingly controversial elements contained in the Sira literature. The elements that are briefly discussed include the so-called Satanic Verses, the marriages of Muhammad to Aisha and Zaynab, the assassination of some poets, and the fate of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza in Medina.

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EP.9–Religion: What is the Qur’an?

July 17th, 2012

This episode of the podcast is the first part of a short introduction to the scripture of Islam known as the Qur'an (Koran). Where does the term Qur'an come from?  What is a Mus-haf? How is the Qur'an organized? What are the contents of the Qur'an?

Sources and Recommended Readings:

The Qur'an: a Beginner's Guide   by Farid Esack

Major Themes of the Qur'an   by Fazlur Rahman

The Koran: a Very Short Introduction    by Michael Cook

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an    by Jane McAuliffe (editor)

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an    by Christopher Buck (editor)

The Qur'an: a New Translation   by Tarif Khalidi

The Qur'an: an Introduction   by Abdullah Saeed

The Qur'an in its Historical Setting    by Gabriel Said Reynolds (editor)

Approaching the Qur'an: the Early Revelations   by Michael Sells

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EP.10–Religion: Muslims and the Qur’an/God in the Qur’an

July 26th, 2012

We continue talking about the Qur'an. We take a look at how Professor Mohammed Arkoun defined the Qur'an, at the way that most Muslims have related to the Qur'an, and at what the attributes of God in the Qur'an can tell us about its message.

Sources and Recommended Readings:

The Qur'an: a Beginner's Guide   by Farid Esack

Major Themes of the Qur'an   by Fazlur Rahman

The Koran: a Very Short Introduction    by Michael Cook

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an    by Jane McAuliffe (editor)

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an    by Christopher Buck (editor)

The Qur'an: a New Translation   by Tarif Khalidi

The Qur'an: an Introduction   by Abdullah Saeed

The Qur'an in its Historical Setting    by Gabriel Said Reynolds (editor)

Approaching the Qur'an: the Early Revelations   by Michael Sells

La Pensée Arabe        by Mohammed Arkoun

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EP.11–Religion: Prophets and Prophecy in the Qur’an

August 20th, 2012

This episode briefly introduces the concept of prophecy, its history in the Near East (including the well-developed tradition of Biblical prophets), and the way the Qur'an positions itself vis-à-vis this history. We also discuss the terms nabi and rasul as well as the prominent figures of Abraham and Moses.

Sources and Recommended Readings:

The Qur'an: a Beginner's Guide   by Farid Esack

Major Themes of the Qur'an   by Fazlur Rahman

The Koran: a Very Short Introduction    by Michael Cook

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an    by Jane McAuliffe (editor)

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an    by Christopher Buck (editor)

The Qur'an: a New Translation   by Tarif Khalidi

The Qur'an: an Introduction   by Abdullah Saeed

The Qur'an in its Historical Setting    by Gabriel Said Reynolds (editor)

Approaching the Qur'an: the Early Revelations   by Michael Sells

La Pensée Arabe        by Mohammed Arkoun

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EP.12–Culture: Precursors of Rai Music

August 31st, 2012

This is the first episode in a multiple-episode series on a musical style from North Africa that came to be a strong player on the World Music scene in the last two decades. It is called Rai. This series will consider the development of Rai music within the complex Algerian cultural and socio-political settings of the twentieth century. Throughout the series, we will listen to short musical excerpts from the repertoire of the major Rai performers. Today, we highlight the birthplace and possible origins of Rai and take a look at some precursors of this genre, including the Bedouin Malhun, the Sheikhat, the Meddahat, and al-Wahrani style. This episode includes excerpts from songs by Cheikh Hamada, Ahmed Wahby, Blaoui Houari, Cheb Khaled, and Chebba Zahouania.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.13–Culture: Other Influences on Rai Music

September 6th, 2012

We continue our journey through the history of Rai Music. After considering the streams of music from which modern Rai music emerges in a previous episode, we take a brief look at less direct, yet significant musical influences on modern Rai like Andalusian Jewish music and modern French Chansons. The episode also highlights the impact of French colonialism on the Algerian environment in which Rai would eventually develop. Included are excerpts of songs by Cheb Hasni, Cheb Khaled, Reinette L’Oranaise, Edith Piaf, and Raina Rai.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.14–Culture: Rai Music in Post-independence Algeria

September 22nd, 2012

We continue discussing the story of Rai Music. Among the topics of this episode are the influence of Algerian independence on the development of Rai, the rise of Pop-Rai in Wahrane in the 1970's, and the clash between the Islamist vision and the Rai scene during the civil war of the 1990's. The episode includes musical excerpts from Cheb Kader, Cheikha Remitti, Bouteldja Belkacem, Chebba Fadela, Cheikh Fethi, Chebba Zahouania, Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami, Cheb Hasni, Cheb Zahouani, Cheb Bilal, and Cheikh Boutaiba Sghir.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.15–Culture: Cheb Khaled and the Transformation of Rai Music

October 13th, 2012

We continue looking at Rai Music. This episode presents the career of Khaled Hadj Brahim as emblematic in the way Pop-Rai develops from the 1970's to today. Cheb Khaled is arguably the best Rai singer of his generation. His impact on the direction and the success of this musical style cannot be underestimated. He is known as the King of Rai.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.16–Culture: Cheb Hasni and the Birth and Death of Love Rai

October 19th, 2012

This episode presents some of the major Rai singers of the 1990's. We encounter Cheb Mami, Cheb Sahraoui, Chebba Fadela, Chebba Zahouania, Cheb Nasro, and Cheb Bilal. We pay particular attention to Cheb Hasni who was considered the King of Love Rai and who was assassinated in Oran during the Civil War of the 1990's. The episode contains musical excerpts from the singers above in addition to short selections from Cheb El Hindi and Cheb Abbes.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.17–Culture: Rai Music in Morocco and France

October 27th, 2012

This episode takes a look at the history of Rai music outside Oran and its region. We pay particular attention to the Moroccan and French Rai musical scenes. The episode contains musical excerpts from Chebba Maria, Cheb Akil, Mohamed Lamine, Cheb Hassen, Reda Taliani, Cheb Mimoun, Rachid Berrieh, Cheb Kamal, Bouchnak Brothers, Talbi One, Cheb Kader, Faudel, Rachid Taha, and Cheb Hasni.

Sources and further reading:

Daoudi, B. & Miliani H. L'aventure du Raï

Drewett, M & Cloonan, M. Popular Music Censorship in Africa

Plastino, G. Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds

Schade-Poulsen, M. Men and Popular Music in Algeria: The Social Significance of Raï

Virolle, M. La chanson Raï : De l'Algérie profonde à la scène internationale

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EP.18–Mohammed Arkoun: Rethinking Islam

February 28th, 2013

Today's podcast provides an English translation of part of a conversation with the late professor Mohammed Arkoun (d. 2010) on Belgian TV*.  For most of his prestigious academic career, Mohammed Arkoun was professor of the history of Islamic thought at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He also held teaching positions at a number of universities around the world. The following is a stimulating discussion about a variety of topics, having to do with religion, politics, and culture.

*The video of the whole interview in French can be found at http://www.rtbf.be/video/detail_noms-de-dieux?id=602121

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EP.19–Religion: The Qur’an from Oral Discourse to Closed Codex

June 21st, 2013

Today's podcast briefly discusses the transition of the Qur'an from an oral message into a closed codex through political decisions of the community leaders after Muhammad's death. The episode also quickly highlights the difficulties that face modern historians who are trying to make sense of the history of the formation of the Qur'an. 


Sources and Recommended Readings:

The Qur'an: a Beginner's Guide   by Farid Esack

Major Themes of the Qur'an   by Fazlur Rahman

The Koran: a Very Short Introduction    by Michael Cook

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an    by Jane McAuliffe (editor)

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an    by Christopher Buck (editor)

The Qur'an: a New Translation   by Tarif Khalidi

The Qur'an: an Introduction   by Abdullah Saeed

The Qur'an in its Historical Setting    by Gabriel Said Reynolds (editor)

Approaching the Qur'an: the Early Revelations   by Michael Sells

La Pensée Arabe        by Mohammed Arkoun 

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EP.20–Religion: Jesus in the Qur’an

July 22nd, 2013

Jesus is a significant figure in the Qur'an. How does the Qur'anic Jesus differ from the Jesus Christ of orthodox forms of Christianity? And what does the Qur'anic Jesus tell us about the worldview of the Qur'an and about the environment in which Qur'anic discourse developed?


Sources and Recommended Readings:

The Qur'an: a Beginner's Guide   by Farid Esack

Major Themes of the Qur'an   by Fazlur Rahman

The Koran: a Very Short Introduction    by Michael Cook

The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an    by Jane McAuliffe (editor)

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an    by Christopher Buck (editor)

The Qur'an: a New Translation   by Tarif Khalidi

The Qur'an: an Introduction   by Abdullah Saeed

The Qur'an in its Historical Setting    by Gabriel Said Reynolds (editor)

Approaching the Qur'an: the Early Revelations   by Michael Sells

Christ in Islam and Christianity    by Neal Robinson 

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